Chinese Zodiac Animal Figurines, a tradition of the Honolulu Festival

The Honolulu Festival will be celebrating its 15th year in March 2009. It has become a tradition for the Honolulu Festival Foundation to give away Chinese Zodiac figurines to those who come first to the Hawaii Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
This has become such a popular tradition that many people line up before opening time to collect these figurines each year. There are twelve animals that represent the Chinese zodiac and each year the figurine is different based on the Chinese calendar. As you all know, much of the Japanese culture has been influenced by the Chinese culture and this is true about the zodiac and astrology.
Legends and mythology are a big part of Chinese culture and Chinese Zodiac. The twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac calendar are the rat, buffalo (ox), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. There are a few legends as to how this came to be. One of the more popular legends is that Buddha invited the animals to participate in a race. The prize was a coveted position on the Chinese Zodiac calendar. The first 12 animals to cross the river would appear on the Chinese Zodiac calendar in the order in which they completed the race. The story tells of how each animal was able to finish earlier than the others. It is quite interesting and much of the characteristics of each animal are used to explain the personalities of people born in the year of that certain animal.
2008 is the Year of the Rat and this is a picture of the figurine that was given away for the 14th Annual Honolulu Festival.

2009 is the Year of the Ox and this is what we will be giving away.

I have been collecting these ever since I have been part of the Festival. I’ve collected four so far so that means I need to get eight more! However next year may be the last year since we have been using this as a promotion for eleven years and the twelfth will complete the cycle. Shucks!

This is what it looked like at the Hawaii Convention Center on opening day a little before 10:00 a.m.

It gets pretty hectic as the doors open!
Please come and join us the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival and try to come before the doors open at the Hawaii Convention Center to collect your Year of the Ox figurine. It might be your last chance. Aloha.

Honolulu Festival Foundation

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